Whether you are a backpacker, an adventure junkie or just another tourist interested in exploring places, there is a Goa for anyone and everyone. If you are visiting the beach city for the first time and do not want to waste time walking around and researching on what’s best in Goa, it might be ideal to have a handy guide with all the required information at your fingertips. We have zeroed down a list of things you need to know before you visit the place so that you are well equipped with all the practical tips and tricks to make the most of your precious vacation time in Goa. So, there you go !
What to do in Goa :
Begin with the beaches :
You can’t go without visiting the beaches in Goa. Since Goa has many beaches with each beach having a different ambience , you might want to do a little beach hopping. Some are serene and less crowded whereas others are purely commercial beaches. Mandrem beach, Agonda beach, Baga beach, Candolim beach, Cavelossim beach, Calangute beach, Palolem beach and Vagator beach are the most popular ones.
Bike around and explore:
It would be a good idea to rent a motorbike or a scooter and explore the city from North to South at your own pace without. Halt at places you prefer and skip the ones you don’t- all at your comfort.
Visit the colonial architectures and monuments
Old Goa has always been famous for its beautiful Portuguese styled buildings and monuments. Basilica of Bom Jesus situated in Old Goa is one of the oldest churches in Asia. Few others are Se Cathedral, Reis Magos Fort, Church Of St. Francis Of Assisi.
Mind and body detox
If you want to shift from fun-mode to relax and revive mode, then rejuvenate your body and mind at the Yoga and Ayurveda centers around Goa. There are many yoga retreats around Goa. Whether you want to go on a yoga holiday or practice serious Yoga, Goa is the best place for both. Ayurveda centers mustered across the city provide holistic treatments and massages that help re-energize your mind and body.
Goa for shopaholics
Whatever be your shopping style, you can find your pick either at the designer stores in malls or at the local flea markets by the beach side. If you want to walk around the city in hippie Goan style, then you should surely visit one of those Wednesday flea markets held at the Anjuna beach or Saturday night market in Arpora or Mapusa’s Friday market. Almost all commercial beaches have stalls by their side from where you can pick souvenirs and clothing. A small tip would be to learn a little haggling so you could buy stuffs at reasonable prices.
Must see forts in Goa:
You cannot afford to miss the spectacular view up the forts of Goa. Fort Aguada is famous for its lighthouse and magnificent Panjim city view. Teracol fort, Chapora fort and Cabo fort are few others worth visiting.
Visit the spice village
Spice up your vacation by exploring the spice village. There are numerous private tours that take you around spice plantations explaining the process of planting and picking of spices.
Goa for animal lovers
Visit the Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary and if you are interested in bird watching do not miss visiting Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary. The Dudhsagar waterfalls adjoining the sanctuary is an added attraction if your are visiting the sanctuary.
Celebrate Carnival in Goa
If you want to feel the real craziness of Goa, then visit the place during annual Carnival that falls in February. Photography, dance, music and food- the best can be caught during this time.
Nightlife and Goa :
Those Goan beaches with vibrant ambience have always been a hotspot for colorful nightlife in Goa. There is always music in the air and you can groove to dance tunes in one of those enigmatic pubs.World famous decades bar, Love Passion Karma, SinQ, Cohiba, Club Cabana, Leopard valley are few popular picks of nightclubs though the list goes endless.
Where to Stay ?
Where to stay solely depends on three factors: what ambience you are looking for – a calm and relaxed beach vibe or one with full of action, how much money you want to spend on accommodation and how long you want to stay. From beach shacks and homestays to eco resorts and luxury hotels, the options are limitless. If you are a looking for a better deal on accommodation, then we recommend staying a little away from the beach. You can find backpacker hostels for reasonable tariff. Jungle hostel in Vagator, Prison hostel in Anjuna, Wanderer’s hostel in Morjim, Zostel hostel in Candolim, Old quarter hostel in Panjim are few that you can check out. There are budget guesthouses around Goa that have equally reasonable pricing. Sunny cow village Villa, Starco, Sea Princess, Blue bird guest house, Royal star, Casa de Olga are few popular ones. Slightly more luxurious accommodations can be found near beach side. Vista Praia in Anjuna beach, Ozran heights and Ocean bliss on the cliffs in Vagator, Taj in Candolim, Zuri in Varca and Leela in Cavelossim are few of the luxury beachside accommodations you can check out. If you are planning to stay in Goa for a month or more, renting a house through Flipkey or Airbnb would be a good idea.
Where to Eat and Drink?
Beaches in Goa are dotted with numerous shacks that serve multi cuisine menu. Pousada on the beach in Calangute is a good bet for Goan cuisine. Noronha’s corner in Anjuna has one of the best Goan fast food. Tuscany Gardens serves authentic Italian cuisine. Thalassa is one of the few Greek taverns in India. If you are looking for contemporary European food, then you should visit A Reverie. Bomra’s serve traditional Burmese food. These are just few names. You can explore more for yourself. Goa has restaurants for every taste and nativity.
When to visit?
The main tourist season in Goa is from November to March. It will be a good idea to avoid Goa in summer. Monsoon season from June to September will restrict your travel plans, but if you are looking for good deals on accommodation then you get it during offseason, provided you take a chance with the unpredictable rains.
How to get around Goa?
If you want to discover Goa at your own pace, then renting a scooter or bike will be the best thing to do. Buses are available for short distance journey. Cabs can also be arranged upon request at most of the accommodations.
Finally, what to pack for Goa?
So here is your packing list. Firstly your driver’s license so you could rent a two wheeler in case you need one, sun hat/ cap , swim wear, beach towels, sun tan lotions, comfortable pair of footwear and other essentials. It is recommended to pack light as it makes easier to walk around with less luggage.Also, good quality clothing, bags and other accessories are available at flea markets at cheap rates so you can load up in Goa.
Wind in the hair, sand in the feet, music in the air, favorite cocktail in your glass, recline and relax on one of those lounge chairs stargazing all night – doesn’t that sound tempting ? May be it’s time to chill out. Get ready for G-town!